One of the most interesting things I have stumbled upon in recent days is FSR (On the Web site Tangotier.net). For those who don't know, it is basically "Fans Scouting Reports." Basically, fans log on, submit their evaluations of certain players on a 1-100 scale. As predicted, 50 is the average. The FSR allows fans to evaluate instincts, fielding range, hands and throwing measurements on a 1-100 scale. I really love this evaluation system for two reasons:
A.) It's another way to help measure defense, and it does it in a good way (allowing people to judge players on what they see). After all, a lot of people's big problems with UZR is that they don't think it equally justifies what they see on the field. While this isn't fail safe, FSR does give a nice complement to UZR.
B.) It's relatively simple. 1-100 ratings in seven categories. Doesn't need much explanation when you see it.
Here are my reactions to some of the evaluations. (Remember 50 is average.)
The Expected (No surprises here, good or bad):
Andres Torres (76), Nate Schierholtz (77), Buster Posey (72), Freddy Sanchez (70), Travis Ishikawa (68), Juan Uribe (57), Eugenio Velez (28), Jose Guillen (27), Pat Burrell (36).
Not any surprises here. Schierholtz and Torres are plus-plus outfielders, Posey was a huge upgrade defensively over Bengie Molina (who was last in team FSR with a 26 rating), and Ishikawa is one of the better defensive first basemen in the game. Also, though Buster Olney would disagree, Uribe is above average defensively, and thankfully the fans evaluate him properly here.
In terms of the bad ones, also no surprises with Velez, Guillen and Burrell. Velez is an adventure in the outfield or infield (though I was a little surprised by his ZERO hands rating) and Guillen showed he was ill-equipped to cover right field at AT&T Park. As for Burrell, he wasn't the worst, but his 36 rating (a little below-average) is what I would rank him as well. I think Torres definitely made Burrell a lot more tolerable in left field (e.g. he was covering the ball Burrell couldn't get to).
The Good Surprises
Matt Downs (52), Cody Ross (53), Aubrey Huff (47).
Downs is no longer a member of the Giants, but he had a seven point improvement in the fans' mind from a year ago, so it was nice to see a guy get some love from the fans. As for Ross, I think it was mostly a surprise because A.) he was pretty solid offensively and B.) And he's above average defensively according to defensive metric and FSR. Thus, it makes you wonder why the Marlins were so ready to jettison him. (Then again, when you have Mike Stanton, I guess you gotta do something...but you're telling me Ross had no trade value at all?)
Now, most pundits would say Huff's below average FSR isn't good. But I found it considering this: he was a career DH prior to this season. Yes, he's not going to win a Gold Glove anytime soon, but he didn't kill the Giants defensively as much as I thought he would and his pop in the bat was more than enough to help him overcome the more stellar defender Ishikawa.
Brian Sabean definitely lucked out with Huff, not just offensively, but defensively as well in 2010.
The Bad Surprises
Pablo Sandoval (46), Aaron Rowand (46), Mark Derosa (48).
Sandoval's FSR is a little disheartening because it clashes with his UZR numbers from 2010. In 2009, Sandoval had a negative-3.6 UZR in 2009 and improved to a 1.2 UZR this season. However, FSR goes vice versa. In 2009, he had a 55 rating (above average). In 2010, his rating was 46 (below average). Arm accuracy and instincts are the two categories where he took huge hits. He fell 15 points in each category from the previous year (from 54 to 39 in AA and 65 to 50 in instincts). Hence, it's not just an athleticism thing that is hurting Sandoval defensively at third (since his weight seems to be the main beef with his defense).
Rowand didn't really have much of a tumble (he went from 48 to 46 from 2009 to 2010) but Rowand has already has had an MO as a solid defender. The same goes with Derosa (though I wonder how much his injury hindered him this year). However, as FSR points out, they are both seen by the fans as slightly below average. That's not a good sign for two guys who made just a shade under 20 millions dollars on the Giants payroll last season.
I'm late to the game in this, but FSR is definitely a good tool. I really didn't have any gross disagreements on some players with FSR (not quite the case with UZR on certain players). That being said, much like UZR, FSR shouldn't be viewed solely, but it gives us a more concrete way to look at players defensively in addition to usual sabermetric analysis. Definitely expect to see FSR used more often (along with UZR) on Remember '51.